A Passer By
The art of freelancing can be a tricky beast. It’s not always the norm, but there are times when you feel like an outsider. Imagine going to a party where you don’t know a single soul. Your friend, who wanted you to accompany him, ditched for some reason or another. The problem with said ditching is that he neglected to give you enough time to turn around as well. So you’re in this situation where you’re waltzing right into a stranger’s home, unaccompanied. To make matters worse, everyone else is a stranger too.
At first, it’s uncomfortable. You stand awkwardly in the corner with a drink in hand. You pray that someone will take you under their wing and introduce you to some other guests.
Let’s stop right there. This is what it can feel like to be a freelancer at a company. You’re working for them and with them, but your working relationship is most likely temporary. When it comes to that kind of setup, it’s easy for your contact to neglect sharing the 411 on their company.
Over the next couple of posts, I’m going to go over five freelancing tips in the corporate world.
1) Barbara and Jeff who? Going over need-to-know employees.
When a freelancer starts working for a company, he/she doesn’t know all the employees. This may be painstakingly obvious to you, but it can be overlooked by the other guys.
For example, I remember being on an initial call with a company (during a staff meeting) and the leader kept telling me to “follow up with Barbara” and to “ask Jeff about that.” I frantically wrote down these names with notes next to them saying, “find out who Jeff is” and “look up Barbara in the company directory.” When we got off the call, I had created this extra homework for myself. It’s the kind of homework (unpaid) that you don’t want because it takes time away from your actual freelance work.
The Call to Action
As writers, we’re always talking about the call to action, so my CTA is to be that kid in class that raises his/her hand on the first day. It may be uncomfortable but think about it. How are you supposed to know who these people are? And in all honesty, it may be a little awkward at the moment, but it saves time later following up with your contact. If you’re working with CEO’s, VP’s, or other high-profile individuals, they may not exactly be easily accessible and/or love the fact that you’re bothering them later. Do yourself a favor and tackle the issue right away. It ends up saving time and money.
Extra tip: Make sure to ask about the company’s preferred type of communication. For example, I was working for an agency that answered Slack and Voxer messages over emails. This blew my mind because I’ve always been told that email is the most sacred staple of contacting someone professionally. This may not be the case with every company. Maybe it’s Slack, Hangouts Chat, Zoom, or one of the many other options. So figure this out from the beginning of your working relationship.
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